Hero image

Myeong Gyu Oh Succeeds Burak Hashas After Thriller Final

The World Championship for juniors is still firmly Korean territory, even after Burak Hashas won the title last year. With four titles for Haeng Jik Kim, one for Tae Kwan Kim and three for Myung Woo Cho, the Asian stronghold has dominated the junior event since 2007. 

Some great quality matches were played in Ankara, leading up to the two semifinals and the final on Sunday. Defending champion Burak Hashas (Turkiye) was a big favorite over Amir Ibraimov (Germany), the latter being only fifteen years old. Amir played a strong and fearless match, overpowering the Turk 35-23 in 21/20 innings. 

The second semifinal was even more spectacular. Spain’s Sainz-Pardo had made a strong impression and he kept up with Korea’s Myeong Gyu Oh for a while. But after Oh had closed out the match with a great run of 10, the scoreboard showed only 15 innings: 35-20 in 15/14. That’s a superb performance by any player, let alone an eighteen-year-old. 

The final was – understandably – a festival of nerves and quite a few innings were used. The tension and excitement made up for some unnecessary misses, and from 32-32 anything could happen. Oh kept his cool, gave Ibraimov a few unmakeable starting positions and finished the job at 35-33 in 37/36 innings to be crowned world champion.  

This junior event in Ankara provides plenty of grounds for optimism about the future of the sport. A wealth of talent was demonstrated, and it’s only a matter of time before we see these fresh faces in World Cups.